With a few spurts of rain and winds in the past week, the weather may not have cooperated to the fullest extent possible for anglers looking to kick off their spring fishing seasons. Still, a slow and steady warming trend has begun to work its magic. As sure as you can see fruit trees blooming and birch leaves starting to unfold, more and more saltwater species are invading local waters.
Just a week ago, catches of striped bass were smoking hot in New Jersey’s Raritan Bay, just starting to gain a little consistency along Long Island’s western South Shore, and building steadily in western Long Island Sound. At this point, the bass have begun to show as far east as Montauk Point, although school fish still dominate most catches. Even better, blackfishing on local wrecks and rough bottom has improved in ocean waters outside of Jones Inlet, and codfish, which had been missing in action through the late winter months, seem to be working toward some semblance of a spring run. Add in reports of a few porgies and fluke caught and released at Shinnecock Canal by anglers targeting school bass and weakfish, and you get the sense things are rounding into form.
“We’ve still been fishing well west of Jones Inlet for keeper stripers,” said Capt. Nick Savene of the Oceanside charter boat No Time on Thursday. “It’s a bit of a run, but we’ve been limiting-out so quickly that there’s plenty of time to search around for other species.
Indeed, on Tuesday, Savene took the Adrian Hardy group for “a run to the west,” and they needed just 35 minutes to ice a limit of linesiders. After playing a little catch and release, the skipper set up for some bottom-fishing closer to home and his crew put away three keeper blackfish plus seven winter flatties to 2 1⁄4 pounds. Thursday saw Savene’s charter limit-out on stripers again, with several more blackfish and winter flounder coming over the rail. “With the bass,” said the captain, “that was our sixth full boat limit in a row.”
Currently, the farther anglers head east the harder it is to bring home some fillets. That should change next week when porgy season opens May 1, and fluke season gets underway May 4. For the past several years, the waters off Greenport, Shelter Island and Jessup Neck have been the Opening Day hot spots for both the scup and summer flatties.
n Enviro fun for families
Families looking for a fun and educational day outdoors this weekend need to head no further than the 10th Seatuck Eco-Carnival on Saturday, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Suffolk County Environmental Center Scully Estate (www.seatuck.org) in Islip.
Drawing several thousand visitors each year, the event features a series of hands-on nature stations that help kids (and children at heart) connect to the natural world. The Salt Marsh Exploration, where participants discover mummichog (killies), juvenile American eels, dragonfly larvae and other surprising critters is just one of the nature highlights.
You’ll also find a mix of nature-themed games, arts & crafts, plus music, food and a wide range of government entities and organizations providing a wealth of conservation information. Spend a few hours or the entire day. It’s fun, eco-friendly and free for all although donations are welcome.